I just watched a movie in which someone more or less says "Oh yeah, with him dead, you want me hacking the computer" My question: to what extent can I use this construction? Is it grammatically right to say "with them mad at me, I wanna do it"?

2 Answers 2


This is a verbless clause as complement to with where with is followed by subject + predicate, but with no verb in the predicate (CaGEL p1267). It is also possible to use without as head of the PP:

They were wandering around [without any clothes on]

With and without do not license finite complements, but non-finites are found in addition to verbless forms:

Without her realising it, Fabia's thoughts drifted back to the Gloucestershire home

Without anything said, Tuathal turned in the saddle and held up a flat palm for silence

The predicate could be a gerund-participial, a past participial, NP, PP or AdjP.

  • 1
    What about with his being dead instead of with him dead? May 13, 2020 at 4:29
  • 2
    @Fadli Sheikh The difference would be between subject + predicative complement, and subject + gerund participial. They are both allowed in this construction. The meaning is pretty much the same with being dead taking a more internal view of the situation.
    – DW256
    May 13, 2020 at 4:57
  • These are all gerunds, though they often delete auxiliary being or having. It can be put back again without changing meaning, though: without having any clothes on, without anything being/having been said. Jun 2, 2022 at 21:11

with + person or pronoun or object + past participle or adjective or noun is an idiomatic usage.

Merriam Weber says this:
c—used as a function word to indicate a result attendant on a specified action got off with a light sentence

Except in the OP's example, there is the addition of a past participle, so I am calling that idiomatic. But all of those uses are about "a result attendant on a specified action".

  • With them gone, we could do the work.
  • With John's leaving, there was now a problem.
  • With the car stolen, we could not get to work.
  • With the house painted, we all felt better.

All those could be stated as Given that x:

Given they left Given that John left Given that the car was stolen Given that the house was painted.

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